Take a walk through the streets in most cities around the world, sit on a bus, train or even lift your head up and look around at the airport. What do you see? The most common sight is not people in stores making purchase or in conversation with the person behind the counter or even just chatting to the unknown person next to them.
The most common sight in plane view is the sheer mass of people ‘glued to’ their phones. Before we go further into this article it is here important to note and appreciate that some may be using a mobile phone for phone calls of what may be needed from the store or letting family know the moment of arrival. But what if this analysis of society, removed that percentage of people from the equation, what would remain is still the view of people at tables eating with their phones with other people. With the occasional glance or comment. The head down shoe walker that is busy reading or writing whilst trying to govern their movements through a busy crowd.
As a point of personal reflection before we continue how frequently could you say that your phone is only touched to answer or make a call?
Social interaction, exchange and communication is left to a minimum and simple dialogue or connection between two people rarely occurs with out the prompting of external factors.
According to Ofcom the UK is now a “smartphone” society. The report states – two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours everyday to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.
The report also states that internet users aged 16 and above said they spend nearly 10 hours online each week in 2005. It had climbed to over 20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014.
There needs to be yet another pause at this moment to ponder most deeply how did we get here? How did the phone become categorised as a “smart phone”? Is it because we are judging the multiple apps or actions one phone can do in comparison to what it could do 10 to 20 years ago? Or is it the fact it can now simply access the internet which opens up a whole other seeming un-policed reality?
How is it possible with more smart phones and even the fact of being classed a “smart phone society” that users’ ability to use these smart phones and actually be smart with societal engagement or human decency has diminished.
Another question here to pose- it is a known fact that mobile phones usage has increased but why has this increase given society an outlet to the voices in their head, thinking they have the ability to destroy, harm or isolate whomever they choose based on their freedom of speech or lack of consequences?
We have tech companies creating apps that are encouraging more rampant behaviour. There are known apps designed specifically for casual sex for adults that have resulted in women being murdered or raped and men being blackmailed. We have more porn being accessed through these “smart phones”, more indecent and abusive behaviour, a rise in stalking, harassment, the use and access to explicit images, blackmailing, businesses being destroyed and reputations being damaged. Mental health, anxiousness, depression and self-harm all on the increase but to name a few. Productivity and HR departments within corporations impacted and yet we as a society we will keep our head looking to our smart phone. What answer is being looked for? And as societies’ standards of human decency diminish how low does it have to get before a change is made? Are we now smarter because of these smartphones or just more primitive?
We have statistics now of a rise or impact of how people are using their phones but how long do we need to wait until corporations, governments and ever day human beings catch up and see that as a role modelling society what is the current reflection to the next generations.
To put simply could the average human being get through their average day without being influenced by technology?